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As the second most populous state in the nation, Texas offers plenty of employment opportunities for social workers in nonprofits, government agencies, and healthcare facilities. The state is also home to some of the best social work programs in the U.S. in both traditional and online formats.

Learn more about social work degrees in Texas, including job and salary prospects for graduates.

Featured Online Programs in Social Work

Becoming a Social Worker in Texas

Each state establishes different regulations to qualify for a social work license. In Texas, the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners authorizes social work licensure and determines educational and experience requirements for each license level.

The state recognizes four social work licenses. The licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) requires a bachelor of social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). A CSWE-accredited master of social work (MSW) is the minimum educational requirement for the licensed master social worker (LMSW), the licensed master social worker in advanced practice (LMSW-AP), and the licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

If you want to practice social work in Texas, you must pass the state’s jurisprudence exam and submit an application, official transcripts, and a criminal background check to the state board. Candidates must also pass the bachelor’s, master’s, or clinical licensing exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and the Texas Social Work Jurisprudence Examination. This exam covers legal and ethical considerations that affect the profession.

The Best Social Work Programs in Texas

If you are interested in becoming a social worker, you will find several top-ranked traditional or online MSW programs in Texas. This guide to the best CSWE-accredited social work degrees in Texas can help you find the right program to fit your needs.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best social work schools in Texas, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online

Average Tuition

  • In-State$7,233
  • Out-of-state$17,049
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Admission Rate82%
  • Students Enrolled32,441
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes

University of Houston

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online

Average Tuition

  • In-State$8,449
  • Out-of-state$20,665
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Admission Rate63%
  • Students Enrolled47,090
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes

Baylor University

  • Waco, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online

Average Tuition

  • In-State$44,544
  • Out-of-state$44,544
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Admission Rate68%
  • Students Enrolled19,297
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes

Texas State University

  • San Marcos, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online

Average Tuition

  • In-State$8,326
  • Out-of-state$19,778
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Admission Rate85%
  • Students Enrolled37,812
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online

Average Tuition

  • In-State$4,412
  • Out-of-state$14,228
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Admission Rate78%
  • Students Enrolled10,775
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment55%
  • AccreditationYes

How Much Will It Cost to Get My Degree in Social Work?

One of the most important considerations when choosing a school is the overall cost. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, average tuition and fees have risen steadily over the past decade for first-time undergraduates whether attending public or private four-year institutions. The cost of graduate programs has also increased, with average tuition rates rising from $17,874 in 2010-11 to $19,749 in 2020-21.

The price of a social work degree in Texas varies considerably by type of institution, degree level, and program length. At a large public university, Texas residents in a typical 60-credit MSW program may pay $400-500 per credit hour, compared to almost $1,000 for out-of-state students. Tuition rates at private schools tend to run much higher.

Students should always budget for additional costs. Social work students, especially in the final term of their studies, should plan for expenses like license application and ASWB exam fees.

While online programs may save students money on living and transportation expenses, distance learners may not qualify for some forms of financial aid or scholarships.

How Much Will I Make as a Social Worker in Texas?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers in Texas earned the following wages as of May 2022:

Social Work Careers & Salaries Texas
OccupationTexas Median Hourly WageTexas Average Annual Wage
Child, Family, and School Social Workers$23.75$49,810
Healthcare Social Workers$29.77$62,500
Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers$18.98$44,100
Social Workers, All Others$35.01$68,500

Source: BLS, 2023

Overall, social work salaries in Texas fall somewhat behind the national average.

However, the state boasts a relatively low cost of living, ranking 35 out of the 50 states, which makes it easier to maintain financial stability.

Several factors influence social work salaries, including type of specialization and location. The demand for certain social work subfields has driven up earnings.

For example, in May 2022, healthcare social workers in Texas earned an annual salary of $62,500 — over $12,000 more a year than child, family, and school social workers and almost $18,000 more than the annual salary for mental health and substance misuse social workers.

Location can also impact earning potential. Social workers in metropolitan areas make more than those in less populated parts of the state.

For example, Austin, the capital and one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, pays healthcare social workers an average salary of $69,900. In the rural Hill Country region of the state, social workers in this same subfield earn $59,670.

Job Outlook With a Social Work Degree

Social workers in Texas can expect a favorable job market through the next decade. Currently, the state ranks third highest in the country for the employment of child, family, and school social workers and fourth highest for healthcare social workers, as per BLS data from May 2022.

The employment of social workers in the state is expected to climb at a faster pace than the national average in all subfields. The areas with the highest job growth rates, healthcare social work and mental health and substance misuse social work, are projected to increase by 19.4% and 18.3%, respectively.

This expansion reflects several demographic and health trends, including the need for a full range of healthcare services by the aging population and the increase in the number of people seeking treatment for mental illness and substance misuse.

Social Work Job Outlook in Texas
Occupation2021-2031 Growth Projections (U.S.)2020-2030 Growth Projections (TX)
Child, Family, and School Social Workers+8%+14.4%
Healthcare Social Workers+11%+19.4%
Mental Health and Substance Misuse Social Workers+11%+18.3%
Social Workers, All Others+3%+13.8%

Source: BLS, Projections Central, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Social Work

How much do social workers make in Texas?

Social work salaries in Texas depend on several factors, like degree and licensure level, specialization, years on the job, the type of employer, and location. The lowest paid social workers, those in the mental health and substance misuse subfield, earn an average salary of just less than $45,000, according to the BLS.

The highest paid, those in the BLS category for social workers (all others), may make over $67,000 a year.

Are social workers in demand in Texas?

Because Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, social workers can expect a promising job outlook through the next decade. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, all subfields of social work in Texas are projected to increase at rates higher than the national average through 2030.

The employment growth projections are highest for healthcare social workers and mental health and substance misuse social workers.

How long does it take to become a social worker in Texas?

It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree, which meets the requirements for a licensed baccalaureate social worker credential. Many social work jobs require an MSW which takes two more years. However, students with a BSW degree can attend an advanced standing master’s program to finish their MSW in a year.

Licensed clinical social workers also need 3,000 hours of supervised experience after graduation from an MSW program, which adds up to two more years of training.

How do I get a social work license in Texas?

Social workers in Texas must hold the appropriate CSWE-accredited degree and pass the ASWB exam for their licensure level. The LBSW requires a bachelor’s degree while an MSW or doctoral degree in social work is needed for LMSW, LMSW-AP, and LCSW licenses.

Prospective social workers can find current information about licensure and experience requirements at the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners website.